Cold weather, comfort food and puzzles!

There will be no dry January in this house. I take my hat off to those that embrace this rather strange concept but it’s not one I can embrace myself.

More than ever, we take pleasure in what we will prepare for dinner and what we’ll drink alongside it. A dinner without wine is not dinner for us.

Of course, we’ll have nights when we don”t drink anything – and we’ll be moderate. But giving up wine completely for a month. That would be too hard for us at the moment and I think we need to give ourselves a break frankly.

Last year was punishing for us. We were forced to restructure the business at the end of the year to reduce costs and have had to think of different ways to stay solvent like so many others in the same situation.

It helps if you’re open and flexible and we are. Happy to do a bit of wine education here and Zoom tasting there, happy to provide translations for local growers. Happy to go back to pruning in the vineyards. Happy to be living where we are surrounded by beautiful countryside and good friends.

It’s been cold and icy this past week or so and we’ve been lighting the fire mid afternoon which has seemed like a lovely indulgence. Nothing better than gazing into the flames contemplating life. There’s been plenty of time for that!

I’ve been doing a puzzle since Christmas. A 1000 piece picture of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. It’s insanely difficult but I’m making good progress. I have it set up on the Tasting Room table and spend half an hour here or there slotting in a few pieces. When I feel my head spinning I leave it for a while and then every time I pass through on my way to another room, I just have a little ‘go’ and it’s often then that I’ll spot a piece I’ve been looking for all day.

Such an old fashioned pastime. I’ve not done one for years. It’s amazing how absorbing it is.

Recent dinners have been comforting and simple. A change from the rich food and wine over the Christmas period but also a nod to the chilly weather outside.

Roasted chicken thighs with sundried tomatoes and giant pasta tubes, cheese, potato and onion pasties, sausages in a rich onion gravy with roasted veg, butternut squash curry with rice, pasta with roasted aubergine, basil and tomato sauce and Feta cheese and a long slow cooked casserole of wild boar with creamy mash.

On Saturday night I had the pleasure of sharing the wines of Chateau de Mondomaine with a group of 14 in the US. Friends from Denton, Melissa and Patrick arranged to ship a selection of wines over to the US and then distributed them among their friends. I then ran a tasting for them from here in Nozay. It was lovely to connect and talk wine, life and food.

This week I’ll be setting my mind to the next Zoom tasting for my club members which is at the end of the month.

In the meantime, I must just back to that puzzle!